Adventures in Housekeeping Our Life

Facelift – a fresh, new look

At our age, we need bright colors to pep us up and that’s exactly what we got.

I’m going to blame my sister-in-law. She and I had been talking on the phone, me sprawled in the hammock, listening as Kathryn spooled a story about picking the right color for one of the walls in her new home. Sheesh, I said, I never even look at my walls.

Limp pastels, kitschy wallpaper

But, wouldn’t you know it, when I walked back into our house I saw them with terrible clarity and decided that something must be done. And Bob, bless his heart, gave me total support. Never mind that we’d lived with what previous tenants thought was cute for fourteen years, our walls now desperately needed a makeover.

Chaos followed. Not immediately. First we had to find a contractor because we sure as heck weren’t going to do the painting ourselves. The first guy said he’d get to us in a few months, then couldn’t. The second painter didn’t pan out either. But the third one did—I know, this is starting to sound like a fairy tale—and soon we were taking all the art off the walls and looking for places to hide the knick knacks.

A scene from Stanley Kubrick’s, “The Shining”
Our Kubrick memorial entrance

As for the colors, we’d already spent months taping painted poster board samples to our walls until we picked five that worked for us. I’m not gonna lie, we went for bright knowing full well that we were bucking the current trend towards neutrals.

Several iterations into the process of color-picking

Our friends grasped their hands when we showed them our paint strips. Some came right out and said, “I couldn’t live with those colors,” while others wished us well before retreating to the comfort of their reasonable decor.

Carmy’s nightmare, a scene from “The Bear”
Blue and orange in the kitchen, too

But we were undeterred. We wanted bright and we weren’t choosy about where we got our ideas. For example, a scene from “The Bear” inspired our blue kitchen. Never mind that it was one of Carmy’s nightmares.

Old kitchen, new kitchen

We thought the deep blue “Flyway” would look great against our warm cabinets.

Kitchen wallpaper border – gone!

Our newly-hired crew of professionals patched drywall goofs and door dings, painted over the wallpaper, and were finished in two days.

Snooze-free laundry room, before and after

No more falling asleep while doing laundry. That “Osage Orange” will keep us on our toes, blood pumping.

Old and new transitions from office to kitchen

I spend most of my indoor time bouncing between kitchen and desk so the colors we chose for those two rooms had to get along. The blue and brown remind me of my childhood parakeet sitting on the curtain rod in my bedroom, his blue feathers contrasting nicely against the wood paneling.

Old office, new office, from yellow to brown

After many failed greens, we picked “Teddy,” which matches our morning coffee. Brown was Carrie’s idea because we had a lot of framed art on the wall and she said brown wouldn’t fight with everything else. And it’s a bright room, windows facing south, so we knew it could handle the dark color.

Dining room from the kitchen, old and new

We had the orange wrap around the outside of our dining room on the kitchen side, and painted the interior “Lemon Twist.”

Inside the dining room, old and new

I can’t think of a better color for dining than the color of a good macaroni and cheese. Makes me hungry just looking at it!

Living room, old and new

We didn’t have to think too hard before picking “Peri Wink” for the living room, a color that plays nice with the greenery of Bob’s orchids.

Cozy as can be, living room, hearth, and office

Here is the other side of our living room with its double-sided gas hearth and wood mantle. What you won’t see here is all the knick knacks because I only chose a few to display and left the rest in a cooler nested in towels.

The dining room from the living room

We wrapped the entrance from the living room to the dining room in periwinkle, another nod to my childhood because these are the colors I repainted my bedroom when I was about twelve years old.

Hall to spare bedrooms, old and new

Our raspberry pink hall also got a makeover. I thought yellow would help lighten it up.

The perfect piece of art

We’ve been having a whale of a time rifling through our art collection picking and hanging. One of my favorites is “Wired Wanderings: A Quest for Identity” by Robyne Plaga in back entrance. Not only does it pick up the blue from the other side of the hall, but we find the robot’s expression—a mix of elation and despair—totally relatable.

“It’s like living in a bag of Peanut M&M’s,” I said to Bob after the painters left. And that’s okay. We like Peanut M&M’s. At our age, we need bright colors to pep us up and thanks to Kathryn, we’ve got them. Also, thank you to all our friends who weighed in and supported us along this confusing journey.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

4 replies on “Facelift – a fresh, new look”

I can’t wait to see it in person! My favorite is the periwinkle walls with the red door. The orange kitchen wall in front of the yellow in the dining room gives a really lovely effect too.

Thank you Henry, Mary, and Carrie! Bob and I have promised each other to never do this again, so we have to live with the colors we chose.

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